• YYYYMMDD: Question #0 Would you like to eat with us? Where?

  • SÖÖT/ZEYRINGER: Answer #0 Yes! We would like to invite you for an ordered pizza to our current studio.
    Gaudenzdorfergürtel 43–45/4. Stock/4C
    1120 Wien
    20150108 19:00

  • We would like to provide the evening with a pizza from Disco Volante, playing the pizza-taxi. We are looking forward to see you tomorrow. Any special wishes for the pizza?

  • Sounds great! We are totally open for every kind of pizza. See you tonight!

    YYYYMMDD — Interview Sööt/Zeyringer — Vienna — Photo Ricardo Almeida Roque - http://www.yyyymmdd/interview-soot-zeyringer

  • We met Sööt/Zeyringer in their current studio in the 12th district in Vienna. They were waiting for us with a neatly prepared table and with the set of questions we had previously delivered them. We brought the promised pizza. They decided to make changes to the order of the questions to better suit their answers.

  • Let´s get started. Question #1.

  • Actually we changed the order.

  • Thats also fine for us.

  • It was the order how we started discussing, and it was more natural for us. We are going to start with the first - the first is still the first.

  • #1 Why did we pick you? What do you think?

  • First of all, we think the reason why you picked us is we do interesting work. That’s the most important answer. We also thought that it’s because we know each other. We saw each other’s work developing during the time at the Academy (of Fine Arts Vienna) and also when Tiina was here in Vienna to do Erasmus. So we often met each other and we know how you work and you know very well how we work. We had a lot of talks and for us it is very nice to see how our work grew over the past years.
    Another point is - at least important for us - that we started as students and we are still young artists and not yet established, but we have a lot of stuff going on, like ongoing collaborations. We are now working together since almost three years and we are planning to prolong it. Maybe - we don’t know - forever.

    YYYYMMDD — Interview Sööt/Zeyringer — Vienna — Photo Ricardo Almeida Roque - http://www.yyyymmdd/interview-soot-zeyringer

  • That was actually also one of the reasons for us to pick you. You are working for already quite a long time together and that’s how we got to know you. We somehow started our process together - at the Academy - and now we’re on our way of leaving that closed circuit to face the reality of the outside world as artists. We are all at a point in our work where we think “what comes now, what comes next, what comes after…”.

  • And we know that these are difficult times, but what we all do is focusing on a subject, a subject that interests us. Even though there are sometimes difficulties, we don´t immediately stop working on it. We don’t change partners as soon as problems pop up. We continue, also if we don’t know where it will lead us. Sometimes we even don’t know how to continue working on our subjects so we work on a basis of continuous development.
    And we had one more reason why we thought that you picked us: we are funny.

  • Let us tell you our reasons to pick you: each of you comes from a different background. One of you from the contemporary dance field and the other from fine arts, merging together in the performative art, stepping out of the classical formats. You always try to represent and reconstruct your work in a new way. For instance, in the last interview we did together you found a solution on how to present your work in a lecture, making a voice over on one of your performance videos. Synchronising yourself, synchronising your own work and performing it again, in a different way. You have an art piece and you are trying to transcribe the work to a new level by changing parts or adapting them. They feel like variations from different points of view. This is the case throughout your work: the way of thinking around, rethinking and thinking from different perspectives around a topic that caught your interest. The different layers of questioning plays an important role in your work and in understanding it.
    Another point is your usage of different exhibition-settings: festivals, dance-festivals, performance festivals, public spaces and galleries. You use video as a space and as a medium to document your work as well, having these various layers for presenting and positioning yourselves. You follow a very clear way of combining image, text, language and space - breaking complex topics down to their essence - with several ingredients. Single words, small sentences, a simple movement - the simplicity and complexity.
    A good example is your piece “Never Name the Shelf”, where you confront the audience with a text and everyday movements to create an understanding of simplified language and coreographies.

  • Never Name the Shelf (Photography by Laura Põld)

  • What is the number of your next question?

  • #2 is originally #5.

  • Question #2 How do you start your working process?

  • We often start from a topic, which can be abstract and broadly defined - such as working, loneliness or obstacles - just to name a few of them. Often our topics refer to earlier discussions, where we were speaking about something completely different. We discuss a lot, about working (together) and how difficult it is, what we like in general and what we like about other works. There are a lot of ideas for pieces but often only a few of them survive. At first we share a lot of memories that we connect with the topic, which can also be related to emotions - like private stories, memories and experiences - but quite in an early stage narrow the things down, to a point where it becomes more abstract. We try to produce as much as we can, going to all kinds of directions, knowing that we won’t like some of them but we keep going still in hope that we can get something out of it. Later we start cleaning and leaving out as much as we can - what is more interesting, what is more relevant. We try to encourage ourselves to have really stupid ideas - that we would never use in the actual performance - but for us it is so important that they are allowed to exist. Many ideas actually just come from silly jokes we make while working. There are a lot of layers put together in our work, until in the end the “final product” comes out.
    Another step is the application-processes we go through. Often we have an idea but then it doesn’t fit into the application we are working on at the time. The right way to present it is missing, so we continue working on it, trying to somehow find and fit it into the right format.

  • Mentioning that the application process sometimes functions as a first approach to an idea and plays an important role in your work, another question pops up: do you usually deal with a format an institution provides you, meaning, do you often do site specific work?

  • If we know that we have to deal with an exhibition space, for instance, the preparation and the way of thinking about the audience is completely different from when we think of performing in a theatre space. On the other hand all our projects are very adjustable, it is possible to show them in galleries and theatre spaces. In various formats, so to speak.
    The application process helps a lot. Curators ask very specific questions, which can be very exhausting, but it helps us finding the right format. You are forced to make decisions, not only concerning the space, but also the time/duration as a frame of our artwork. Sometimes we have to make a piece shorter or longer, depending on the provided time frame.

    YYYYMMDD — Interview Sööt/Zeyringer — Vienna — Photo Ricardo Almeida Roque - http://www.yyyymmdd/interview-soot-zeyringer

  • The time frame and the room as a workspace become restrictions. Do they work as guidelines?

  • Exactly. Working for such a long time together, we are able to adapt these “frames”. 20 minutes or 90 minutes, we always find a way to deal with it.

  • How do you start? Do you meet to have a discussion and then pick an idea that comes out of it or do you bring your individual ideas to then discuss them together?

  • Most of the ideas pop up during conversations. Loneliness came up in one of our skype meetings when one of us was in Estonia and the other in Germany. We were discussing another subject when we said that one day it could be interesting to think about this topic in our work. We write a subject down and then let some time pass by, seeing if after we are still interested in it and if it is still an important topic for us to work on. It was in a similar way that we started using obstacles in our work, it came up in a rehearsal for another project.
    It is a lot about talking and discussing things, leaving them aside and bringing them up again. we write a lot in our notebooks and somehow we find the stuff again - or it finds us. Many times we also see an open call and we go through our notes trying to find something new.

    YYYYMMDD — Interview Sööt/Zeyringer — Vienna — Photo Ricardo Almeida Roque - http://www.yyyymmdd/interview-soot-zeyringer

  • Like a swimming pool full of words. Most of the times you start with text based media, but can it also be with an image?

  • Most of the times topics or situations, but sometimes we already have an idea. With the obstacles it was just about working with that topic. With loneliness we had the idea but it was just waiting in our notebooks for over half a year until we started working on it.

  • Topics that relate to our daily lives.

  • Totally. There could be a lot of theory behind it but for us it is more important to have a personal connection to the topic, a reason why we want to do it. Things we want or need to speak out loud. Of course we research, we try to understand what already exists. It is also important to try the routines while we are talking and discussing. Our current residency studio allows us to have two separate rooms, one for discussions and another for rehearsals.
    We do a lot of storytelling and when we are not together we write a lot to each other. We have some really nice little email poems, although we would probably never show them. We have tons of papers with notes. Recently we started making drawings that help us in our choreographies. Sometimes the movements in our performances are trivial and simple, which makes it very difficult to remember them. We work a lot with repetitions, this created a need to write and draw the score, to afterwards learn it by heart. We started doing our own systems to draw most efficiently. These scores or notation systems have a lot of potential and we are considering them for one of our next projects.

  • Question #3 Which is/are your material/s?

  • Language.
    Performing context.
    Balance/contradiction between rational/irrational or dry/more poetic things.
    Everyday movements.
    Functional movement.

    YYYYMMDD — Interview Sööt/Zeyringer — Vienna — Photo Ricardo Almeida Roque - http://www.yyyymmdd/interview-soot-zeyringer

  • Question #4 How would you like to be (re)presented?

  • We gave a lot of thought to this question, what it means and how we want to answer it. We want to be presented as Sööt/Zeyringer. It means we are a collective, not just two people doing a collaboration. A collective with its own working methods and clear points of view. Sööt/Zeyringer is creating a work and not Tiina and Dorothea are creating a work. Over the time we have developed a language and if we work as Sööt/Zeyringer we know how this functions: Sööt/Zeyringer make decisions in specific situations and don’t put our personal preferences first. There is no need to find a compromise between two individuals. We decide what is most relevant for the collective.

  • Like a brand.

  • Yes. But in the beginning it was difficult for people to understand they should only use Sööt/Zeyringer. For a lot of them it was sometimes a bit confusing because we use our last names for the name of the collective and we had to state always very clear that this was the name of the collective.

  • There are more aspects to this question, for example: is it more important for you to be present in dance festivals or in the fine arts context? Or this doesn’t matter for you at all?

  • That comes with our answer for question #6. Now we would like to continue with question #7 that becomes question #5.

  • Question #5 show us your network.

  • It is not an easy task to show a network. First we wanted to draw something, but then we decided not to. We decided to stick to a list of institutions and we decided just to talk about the network of Sööt/Zeyringer.

    The collective preferred to perform while describing the list of institutions in their network, rather than having it written in this interview.

  • Question #3 becomes #6?

  • Exactly.

  • Question #6 Where would you position yourselves?

  • We position ourselves between fine arts, dance and performance. To go back to your earlier question, it is important for us in which scene we are (re)presented but it is very important that we are in both scenes. This is not easy to balance, but we try to be present in both of them. It is different how we prepare our work for one or the other audience. It is an interesting part to have a change in the audience and in the space where we are showing, bringing skills from one field to the other. For example, if we are performing in a gallery our work can be perceived as “theatrical”, but if we are showing something in a theatre or dance environment it can be probably seen as “fine art”.
    If we are in the dance-field everybody talks about our fine art background, and in fine arts everybody talks about our dance background, but we are already used to it.

    YYYYMMDD — Interview Sööt/Zeyringer — Vienna — Photo Ricardo Almeida Roque - http://www.yyyymmdd/interview-soot-zeyringer

  • Question number #4 becomes the last one. #7 Show us your favourite work you did / someone else did.

  • Our favourite project is the one we are currently working on because it needs the biggest attention, so it needs to be our favourite. Aren’t you always trying to make the best piece you ever made? So it has to be your favourite. You have to be in love with the work you are doing at the moment.
    We have a similar answer to the second part of the question. We usually like works that correspond to what we need, where we can grab something that is valid for us. Something that we are super excited about, we are dealing with or that leads us somewhere. What we like the most is when we see that a work gets simple again. Seeing that someone worked for a long time but not seeing the hard work behind it. We couldn’t pick one work that we would like to speak about or show because every day you change a bit, your ideas and thoughts, your self-perception. The daily mood influences a lot.

  • We all have different ways to measure importance in seeing, remembering and forgetting again. To state that your current work is always the one you love the most is an interesting point of view.

  • Sometimes the current work can also be the one you hate the most. And of course there are always moments where you think that it is going nowhere.

    Sööt/Zeyringer is an artist duo that collaborates since 2012, working with performance on the edge of fine arts and dance. Sööt/Zeyringer likes to explore simple everyday movement, mundane events and casual actions. They bring these unexciting elements into the focus, until they become something beautiful, funny and poetic. Sööt/Zeyringer works with rhythm, timing and musicality of language and movement. They enjoy performing as a duo and to explore balance, synchrony, connection and concentration between them. Their first performance Never Name the Shelf was shown at Raw Matters, Schikaneder (Vienna), Wir lassen sie einfach angelehnt, at VBKÖ (Vienna) and Adapt Special, at Palais Kabelwerk (Vienna) in 2012 and at Imagetanz Festival 2013 at brut Wien. In 2013 Sööt/Zeyringer was granted TURBO Residency at ImPulsTanz, they participated in performative month In-Formation at Künstlerhaus Passagegalerie (Vienna) and showed a performance at gallery Ve.sch (Vienna). During spring 2014 Sööt/Zeyringer worked at Artist at Resort residency at Tanz*Hotel (Vienna), developing their latest piece lonely lonely. In June 2014 Sööt/Zeyringer participated in XVIII International Festival of Choreographic Miniatures at the National Theater Belgrade and they showed the performance Never Name the Shelf at fresh - Tanztage Braunschweig in Germany. In July 2014 they took part in Caught in the Act - Performances im öffentlichen Raum in Dornbirn and performed at Viertelfestival at Kunstfabrik Groß Siegharts. In the end of 2014 Sööt/Zeyringer participated in Tanzen vor Weihnachten in Acker Stadt Palast in Berlin.

    Tiina Sööt (b.1986 in Tartu EST) and Dorothea Zeyringer (b. 1989 in Vienna AUT) met in 2010 in Vienna while studying Performative Arts at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna.